If your social media photos—including your profile picture—are visible to the public, it might be time to check your privacy settings.
That's because the FBI has issued an alert about cybercriminals turning innocent victims' profile pictures into deepfake porn and then using the images to blackmail them.
They're able to use AI image generators to take your photographs and create convincing fake images featuring your face.
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The FBI said that cybercriminals are targeting both children and non-consenting adults with the fake explicit content and using it to try and extort money.
In an official alert, the FBI said: "The FBI continues to receive reports from victims, including minor children and non-consenting adults, whose photos or videos were altered into explicit content.
"The photos or videos are then publicly circulated on social media or pornographic websites, for the purpose of harassing victims or sextortion schemes."
The FBI added that this form of 'sextortion' is very difficult to combat. It said: "Once circulated, victims can face significant challenges in preventing the continual sharing of the manipulated content or removal from the internet."
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To stay safe, the FBI advises that people:
- be careful posting images and personal information online, as it can be 'impossible' to remove these after they've been circulated
- up your privacy settings on social media apps like Facebook and Instagram to protect your photos from prying eyes
- be careful when sending images to people you don't know directly
- don't send money or anything else of value to people who do attempt to blackmail you, as it is no guarantee that they won't go ahead with sharing it anyway
To read the full list of recommendations head to the FBI site
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